June Dairy Month, an annual tradition developed to celebrate the dairy industry and its many contributions to our society, originated in 1937. During its first two years, 1937 and 1938, it was called National Milk Month and ran from June 10 to July 10. The 1937 event, sponsored by chain stores, was given the theme “Keep Youthful – Drink Milk.” Originally supported by the National Dairy Council (NDC), June Dairy Month was established to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production. To assist in that effort, NDC provided promotional materials to the 6,300 stores participating.
“June Dairy Month” became the official title of the promotion in 1939 and focused on greater use of dairy products. Campaign material, prepared by NDC, was offered to producers, processors and dairy product distributors. June Dairy Month was initially funded by a one cent per pound butterfat assessment in June.
During the war years, less emphasis was placed on promotion, more on surviving the war. The retailers helped customers receive an adequate supply of dairy products and provided information to help use them properly.
After the war, efforts focused on resuming dairy product usage and regaining ‘lost’ butter sales. In 1947 the slogan was “30 Days for ADA in June.” The goal was “Sales, not Surplus.” By 1950, retailers, producers and processors all worked together to promote June Dairy Month.
In 1955 American Dairy Association (ADA) became the national leader for June Dairy Month campaigns. The emphasis changed to sales promotion programs for dairy products, and advertising and merchandising programs were added to an already-effective public relations program. The June promotion became a month-by-month merchandising event in which one or more foods made from milk were highlighted nationwide on a monthly basis. This advertising was visible evidence of dairy farmers’ dollars at work.
June Dairy Month continued to evolve over the years and entire communities across the country, both rural and urban, have embraced it and have become involved in many ways. Some celebrate with dairy food demonstrations. In others, dairy princesses have distributed product samples at creameries, grocery stores, and local banks. Some rural communities sponsor cattle shows and princess contests with coronation ceremonies. One of the traditional highlights is a parade, featuring county and regional dairy princesses, town officials, floats and marching bands. Other activities include cow milking contests, cow visits at zoos, or banks offering free milk and ice cream cones.
The cooperation between farmers and other community members are really the basis of what June Dairy Month is all about – celebrating and using a wonderful product.
Adopted from Midwest Dairy Association, http://www.midwestdairycheckoff.com